The Opioid Crisis, Explained, Shows A Harsh Truth

The Opioid Crisis, Explained, Shows A Harsh Truth

Opioid addiction doesn't discriminate, it will take over any person.

The abuse of prescription pain relievers and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. Every day more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. Overdose deaths have now surpassed motor vehicle accidents, guns and HIV in the national death rate.

A cause of the opioid crisis is the doctor to patient access to these drugs. The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors increased from 112 million in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012. The increase in opioid prescriptions was fueled by a multi-faceted campaign underwritten by pharmaceutical companies.

The campaign that started, basically the ultimate opioid takeover, provided information that included patient history and doctoral education courses that all leaned in favor of opioids becoming more commonplace as a rising answer to pain relievers. Originally, opioids were only favored in use of postoperative and end-of-life pain; now, it serves to a wider group catering to everyday situations for people such as fibromyalgia and lower back pain.

The pharmaceutical industry began to notice the highly influential articles easing into opioids becoming more common as typical solutions for any chronic pain. That’s when drugs like OxyContin were being aggressively marketed to doctors everywhere.

Another cause of the opioid crisis is the opposite end of the doctor-patient accessibility to the pain relievers. 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Approximately 52 million people have used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes at least once.

Since 1999, the number of deaths from overdosing on opioids in one year has quadrupled from 4,000 to 62,000 by 2016. In terms of overall misuse, opioids account for a greater amount of the prescription drug abuse problem.

These drugs are popular, even among those who haven’t been prescribed any medication before. What may be hard to realize is that the possibility of addiction can affect any person, even if you’re taking the correct dosage.

The purpose of the medication is to relieve pain, and eventually, it can become necessary for someone to get out of bed each day. Opioids are even popular as recreational-use drugs. The purpose of a person taking the medication non-medically is to be in a euphoric state-of-mind, a high feeling.

The overall effect of the opioid crisis is the highest national death rate of people overdosing on opioids. Since 1999, the annual death rate for opioid overdose has quadrupled in numbers. In 2016, more than 289 million prescriptions were written for opioid drugs.

In October of 2016, President Trump announced that because of the epidemic, we are officially in a state of emergency. There has been an increase of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns, and doing these drugs also puts anyone at high risk for HIV or Hep C. Drug overdoses has also become the leading cause of death for people under 50 as well.

Considering these numbers are the highest they’ve ever been, there’s still the after consequences, there’s still the fact that these people were people. Thousands of children are left in foster care because of the parents overdosing.

These people that are essentially addicted steal, lie and become different people, all under the name of the addiction. And at some points, these people are too far gone to even consider quitting cold turkey because if they do, they’re at higher risk for HIV and accidental overdose.

One thing that’s easy to grasp is that the opioid epidemic seems to be one big well-oiled machine. It’s all basic economics of supply-and-demand. The drug became more popular and essentially was needed more and more every day by regular people. The pharmaceutical industry had its plan to take over and all it took was wooing over the journalists and the doctors.

Because even though the numbers prove that more people may not be in pain since the 90’s, there have still been more prescriptions written. Now, that’s easy to place the blame on the fact that doctors don’t want to see their patients suffering, and considering we’re in the 21st century, it’s easier to prescribe the right medication for any pain.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Opioid Crisis Is Real, And You Cannot Run From It

It will come into your community and it will hit with force.

From 1999 to 2016 630,000 people died from a drug overdose, and 350,000 people died from an opioid overdose. 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2016 there were 63,600 drug overdose deaths and about 66% of those deaths involved an opioid. That is five times higher than the death rate in 1999.

The CDC outlines the opioid epidemic in waves. It all started in the 1990s with prescription opioids, in 1999 the rise in deaths from these prescription opioids make up the first wave. The second wave in 2010 involves the rise in heroin overdose deaths. Then in 2013, the third wave hit with a rise in synthetic opioid overdose rates.

What are prescription opioids?

They are the pain drugs doctors give you for pain. So cancer patients and those in post-surgery recovery are prescribed these the most. The most common drugs are Methadone, Oxycodone aka “Hillbilly Heroin”, and Hydrocodone. Heroin is an illegal street drug that is highly addictive. It is normally injected but can be smoked or snorted.

Fentanyl is the new wave of the opioid crisis. It is a synthetic opioid and is typically used for advanced stage cancer patients. What is so dangerous about fentanyl is its potency, it is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Some drugs, mostly heroin and cocaine, are cut with fentanyl making the effects of these drugs stronger. This is sometimes done without the knowledge of the people taking them.

A result of the opioid crisis nobody talks about is the effects it has on children. As of 2017, Kentucky leads the nation in babies born addicted to opioids. Part of First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best initiative is addressing the needs of children affected by this crisis. Especially children born addicted to drugs. These infants are given doses of morphine and slowly taken down off of it. They scream, have seizures or convulsions, and will throw up due to the withdrawal. These children are sometimes placed in the NICU for seven weeks or more.

President Trump was right in declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency. States like Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia might have the highest overdose rates; but unless we address this problem soon your state might be on this list too.

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